Hoosiers can feed birds again, DNR says

Indiana

A blue jay is seen on a feeder (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers in all Indiana counties can now resume feeding birds, DNR announced today.

DNR had recommended a statewide moratorium on bird feeding earlier this summer to slow the spread of a still-undetermined illness that is killing birds across the state. Biologists identified more than 750 possible cases in 76 counties that involved a specific set of clinical signs, including crusty eyes, eye discharge, and neurological issues.

The actions of many Hoosiers significantly helped the DNR’s work related to the disease outbreak. By taking down their feeders and submitting more than 4,300 reports, residents enabled DNR staff track the disease, detect regional differences, and provide updated recommendations for feeding birds. The DNR appreciates the efforts and actions of Hoosiers statewide.

Residents throughout Indiana may again put out their feeders if they are comfortable doing so and are not observing sick or dead birds in their yards. DNR strongly encourages residents who do so to clean seed and suet feeders at least once every two weeks by scrubbing feeders with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution. Cleaning feeders helps keep birds healthy and helps prevent the spread of disease. Feeders should be thoroughly rinsed and dried before being filled with birdseed. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least once a week with a 10% bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly.

DNR biologists also encourage Hoosiers to continue reporting any sick or dead birds they find to on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. Reports help DNR staff continue to track this outbreak and identify new disease events and reoccurrences.

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center’s avian disease experts and other scientists are continuing their investigative work on the unidentified bird disease. Indiana DNR has provided samples to the laboratory to aid with its testing.

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